In the heart of Gainesville, a trio of friends are bringing new dining experiences to the culinary community. Afternoon, Cry Baby's and Baby J's, have become cherished staples for many locals. Behind the scenes, Kyle Spor, Jay Shuster and Grace Glennon have worked tirelessly to bring these venues to life, each with a unique vision and passion.
The journey started in 2017 when Spor and Glennon decided to sell their Portland home and return to Gainesville. With over 15 years of restaurant experience, the two decided to open a brunch restaurant like the ones they adored in Portland.
"If we moved back to Gainesville, we wanted to be our own bosses and contribute to the community," said Glennon.
The two enlisted longtime friend Jay Shuster to join their team as a partner. Together, they opened their first restaurant, "Afternoon."
Afternoon features an elevated take on popular breakfast items. For example, their popover pancakes covered with fresh oranges, thyme and maple syrup. Additionally, each of their accouterments are made in-house.
They hired Philly chef Phil Bailey Anderson and a couple local bakers to help craft the menu. There was of course a lot of taste testing, determining what items would make the cut. Two years after Afternoon's success, the trio decided it was time to launch a new venture.
"Cry Baby's," which the trio calls a "high-end dive bar," opened downtown in 2019.
The idea was to have a full bar serving sophisticated versions of the usual bar snacks. The three even took a trip to New Orleans to gather some influence. "We all love classic cocktails," said Spor.
Imagine sipping a Negroni while savoring the delectable allure of parmesan rosemary fries – an artful blend of sophistication and comfort.
Their newest business venture opened in 2022 after the space next to Cry Baby's became available for lease. So, the team took their love of music and record collecting and brought it to life.
Baby J's is Gainesville's only live jazz and record-listening bar. Performers come from all over to play at the venue. Their newest addition being their weekly karaoke, and drag cabaret events.
"We just wanted to make a really beautiful space," said Spor. The art deco decor pays tribute to the popular Tokyo jazz clubs in the 1940s.
The journey of Kyle Spor, Jay Shuster, and Grace Glennon is a testament to the power of dreams, hard work, and unwavering commitment. Their trio of establishments – Afternoon, Cry Baby's, and Baby J's – stand not only as culinary destinations but as symbols of innovation and community building. In the heart of Gainesville, their legacy lives on, reminding us all that with a shared vision, anything is possible.
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